Guide to creating a Civic University Agreement

A key recommendation of the UPP Civic University Commission was that universities should embark on creating Civic University Agreements (CUAs) – a civic strategy, rooted in a robust and shared analysis of local needs and opportunities, and co-created with local partners. In this section, you will find practical guidance, support and inspiration for your institution’s civic journey.

Why create a Civic University Agreement?

A key recommendation of the UPP Civic University Commission was that universities should embark on creating Civic University Agreements (CUAs) – a civic strategy, rooted in a robust and shared analysis of local needs and opportunities, and co-created with local partners.

So far over 60 HE leaders have committed to preparing such agreements, and already we are seeing examples of what these look like in practice. You can see examples later in this section.

For HEIs who are embarking on a civic agreement, three motivations tend to dominate:

  • To give coherence to a diversity of activity which is underway, but which isn’t currently focused and coordinated as effectively as it could be
  • To reach out to partners, communities and other HE and FE providers in their location to focus their activity on areas that meet defined needs
  • To demonstrate commitment to collective working and to making a demonstrable contribution to their city and region.

Civic Recipes

We have created a civic recipe book to inspire you – containing lots of examples of the different ways members are approaching their civic activity. It provides a ‘menu’ of possible approaches, and links to lots of examples of civic activity across the UK.

A step-by-step guide

While developing an agreement is an iterative process, there are some key steps that you will need to work through. We will take each of these broad steps in turn, providing a advice and useful tools to accelerate your progress.

Developing your approach

Undertaking consultation and gathering evidence to inform your agreement and building effective partnerships.

Start Here

Striking your agreement

Deciding the most effective way to focus your agreement

Start Here

Delivering your agreement

Setting appropriate targets and goals; putting in place evaluation and monitoring; implementing effective governance and securing resources and building a team to deliver the work.

Start Here

A Vice Chancellor’s Perspective

Trevor MacMillan, VC at the University of Keele, and the government’s Knowledge Exchange Champion, reflects on Keele’s approach to the civic agenda.

The policy and funding landscape

While there isn’t one source of ‘civic’ funding for HEIs to apply to, every area of HE policy is increasingly placing expectations

upon HEIs to deliver public benefit. The recent R&D Roadmap, with its focus on ‘levelling up’ and on addressing regional inequality, is just one manifestation of this.

Creating a civic agreement enables an HEI to get on the front foot in responding to these multiple drivers, and to

demonstrate an effective response across all areas of their activity, from education, to research and knowledge exchange to their activity as an employer and ‘anchor’.

This briefing provides a useful summary of the various policy agendas.